Montclair Cares About Schools just sent the following press release about the alleged online posting of the Montclair School assessments. They join the MEA in calling for a cancellation of the assessments which are schedule to be administered this week:
Montclair Cares About Schools today called on the Board of Education and Superintendent Penny MacCormack to cancel the quarterly assessments which are scheduled to begin this week and were found last week to have been posted on the Internet.
“The fact that these assessments were somehow posted online where any students or parents could download and distribute them irrevocably compromises the integrity of the tests,” said Ira Shor of Montclair Cares About Schools (MCAS). “How could it possibly be fair to assess students on an exam that some of their classmates may have seen in advance? How could it be fair to evaluate teachers on students’ performance on exams so compromised?”
Parents and community members with Montclair Cares About Schools said the unexplained Internet posting is just the latest sign of disarray in the unwise rush by the board and superintendent to hurriedly impose these new tests on the district despite appeals by a thousand parents and students for a delay.
“Every week, the public learns of more problems with this confused new regime of districtwide testing,” said Latifah Jannah of MCAS. “Dozens of teachers have now gone before the board to report a lack of textbooks and other materials that align with curriculum standards. It seems that our district leaders have been so focused on the new tests thay have neglected the basics of ensuring our schools have the books and materials they need.”
MCAS leaders also noted conflicting information from the school district about the quarterly assessments, which has added to parents’ confusion. First, parents were told the quarterly assessments would include creative performance-based and portfolio assessments and that they would be counted as test grades but would not be used in teachers’ evaluations. Then, the superintendent said they might be used in teacher evaluations. Now, the district is saying they may or may not be graded and may or may not be used simply as diagnostic tools. Parents have also learned in recent weeks that most if not the vast majority of tests are multiple-choice or short-answer and will be computer-scored. It also remains unclear what quarterly assessments will be given to students with special needs.
“The school board needs to step back from this disaster, act with civic courage and refocus on what counts to promote true equity and excellence in our schools,” said Maia Davis of MCAS.